Columbia Transit

Columbia Transit
Columbia Transit
Slogan Keeping Columbia MO on the GO
Founded September 20, 1965
Headquarters Wabash Station at 126 North Tenth Street
Locale Columbia, MO
Service type bus service, paratransit
Routes Fixed-route: 101-106
MU Shuttle: 201-209
Stations Wabash Bus Station
Fleet New Flyer, ElDorado National, Gilling
Daily ridership Over 2 million passengers annually

City of Columbia,

Public Works Department, Transit Division
Web site Transportation

Columbia Transit is a city-owned public bus system that serves the city of Columbia, Missouri. The system operates Monday through Saturday, except on major holidays. Services include fixed-route services, on-call para-transit shuttles for the disabled, a system of commuter shuttles for students and employees of the University of Missouri, and hotel shuttles (known as the "Spirit Shuttle") during MU football games. In fiscal year 2009, 2,007,263 rides were logged along the system's six fixed routes and University of Missouri Shuttle routes, while the latest available records show 27,000 rides logged aboard the para-transit service.[1][2]



The system was formerly operated by the Columbia Municipal Bus Lines Company from 1945 to 1965. On September 10, 1965, after the company went out of business, the city of Columbia took over the operation of the system. Originally it had ten orbital routes, in addition to the university routes for students and staff. In 1982, the Wabash Station in downtown Columbia (built in 1910 as a rail depot) became the system's central transfer point. Since then, the station has been expanded and renovated. Beginning in the early 1970s, the system has undergone many changes and serves citizens and students in a variety of ways. Ridership levels have varied throughout the system's history, and have increased during recent years. Current ridership is at record levels.

Fixed routes

The six fixed routes operate Monday through Saturday: from 6:25 am to 6:25 pm Monday-Wednesday; from 6:25 am to 10:25 pm Thursday and Friday; and from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm Saturday. The routes are numbered 101-106, and are designated with a color. Buses operate on one route throughout the day; at the route end points, they will return inbound and repeat (except for final trips at the end of at-peak periods, and the last runs of the day). Buses operate with either an N/S or E/W after the number to indicate route direction.

The fixed routes are:

  • 101 Orange: Oakland Junior High to Bethel and Diego (connects with 105 Purple). North/south route serving Rangeline Street, Brown School Road, Green Meadows, Forum and West Boulevard. 101 South runs clockwise during morning service, and counterclockwise during afternoon service.
  • 102 Blue: Smiley and Rangeline to Indian Hills. North/East route serving West Business Loop, Garth Lane, Blueridge, Clark Lane, Indian Hills
  • 103 Green: Columbia Mall to Paris and Waco. West/East route serving Worley Street, North Old 63, Paris Road, Brown Station Road, East Business Loop
  • 104 Red: Hy-Vee West Plaza to South-East Park and Ride. West/East route serving Broadway, Ash Street, South Old 63, Discovery Ridge, Keene Street, Conley Road
  • 105 Purple: CMSE to Bethel and Diego (connects with 101 Orange). Commuter route serving Forum, Nifong Boulevard, Grindstone Parkway, Ponderosa Street
  • 106 Brown: Wabash Station to University Hospital. "Downtown Orbiter" serving Boone Hospital, Paquin Tower, MU campus, University Hospital and downtown

Routes 101-104 and 106 have timed transfers at Wabash Station. Routes 101 and 105 have timed transfers at Bethel and Diego streets during at-peak times (between 6:25 am–9:45 am and 2:25 pm–6:25 pm Monday through Friday). Routes 101-104 operate on a 40-minute headway. At peak-service times two buses operate in both directions, allowing a frequency of every 40 minutes. During off-peak times (midday, evenings, Saturday) the frequency is every 80 minutes. Route 105 operates on a 40-minute headway from 6:40 am–9:40 am and from 2:45 pm–6:25 pm Monday through Friday; it does not operate during midday, evenings, or on Saturday. Buses on Route 106 complete the Downtown Orbit every 40 minutes. At-peak service frequency is every 20 minutes.

There is no fixed-route Sunday service.

University of Missouri shuttle

Columbia Transit provides free shuttle service to University of Missouri students and employees. Buses serve off-campus apartment complexes throughout Columbia and a network of commuter parking lots adjacent to the campus. Most routes are free; however, routes serving off-campus housing complexes collect fares and also serve non-student residents living there. Funding for the shuttle system is collected by parking and residential fees charged to students needing the service. Nearly all routes serving students terminate at Brady Commons, the student union at the university. Operation times vary from route to route, and some offer late-night service. Routes for this system operate from the fall semester through the spring semester, and do not operate during the summer months. The University Shuttle System accounts for approximately half of Columbia Transit's annual ridership. The routes serving the University community vary from year to year, in order to meet the changing needs of on- and off-campus student housing.

  • 201N: Hearnes Center to Brady Commons
  • 202E: Brady Commons to Trowbridge Parking/AV14
  • 202W: Trowbridge Parking/AV14 to Brady Commons
  • 201S: Brady Commons to Hearnes Center (operates 6am–6pm Monday-Friday)
  • 203N: Reactor Park to 6th and Stewart Road via Maryland Avenue
  • 203S: 6th and Stewart Road to Reactor Park via Providence Road
  • 204: Spirit Special (during home football games)
  • 205E: Brady Commons to Bearfield Road via Trowbridge/AV14, via Old Highway 63
  • 205W: Bearfield Road to Brady Commons via Old Highway 63
  • 206E: Brady Commons to Carter Lane/Campus View
  • 206W: Carter Lane/Campus View to Brady Commons (operates 6 pm-1:30 am Monday-Friday, 6 pm-midnight Saturday, noon-1:30 am Sunday)
  • 207E: Brady Commons to Bearfield Road via Old Highway 63
  • 207W: Bearfield Road to Brady Commons via Old Highway 63
  • 208E: Brady Commons to Buttonwood Lane via Carter Lane
  • 208W: Buttonwood Lane to Brady Commons via Carter Lane (operates 6:40 am–5:40 pm Monday-Friday and runs every 10 minutes; Buses switch routes at Brady Commons.)
  • 209: Cottages of Columbia Shuttle (operates 7 am-6 pm Monday-Friday; runs every 30 minutes)

Routes 205-209 are subsidized by housing complexes. In August 2006, the Reserve and Campus Lodge Apartments agreed to pay Columbia Transit an estimated $30,000 per year for bus service along Old 63 as the 207/208 Gold Route. As part of the agreement Columbia Transit could collect its standard fare along the route, but riders from the Reserve and Campus Lodge would be exempt from payment. The route began with service every hour until 6 pm. In August 2007, with its growing popularity, Columbia Transit began service every half-hour until 6 pm. In 2008, the University of Missouri agreed to help subsidize shuttle service after it added a housing option at Campus Lodge. Service began in August from 6 pm-1:30 am. The University housing option increased ridership along the route, and caused Columbia Transit to increase bus service again along the Gold Route. For the 2009 Fall Semester, both 207 and 208 ran every 10 minutes throughout the day. Route 209 is Columbia Transit's newest route. It began under similar terms as the Campus Lodge/Reserve agreement; however, it uses smaller converted paratransit buses.


In 1990 Columbia Transit began providing curb-to-curb para-transit service to those eligible, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This service utilizes van-based buses, equipped with wheelchair lifts. Passengers can request transportation between any two points within the city limits. The fare is $2.00 per one-way trip. All rides must be booked one business day in advance; this can be done online at the city's website.

Fare structure

Fares for Columbia Transit fixed routes vary from $.75 to $1.50, with several discounted fares available. Transfers are issued (upon request) when fares are paid, and are good for one-way trips only. Passengers may transfer from route to route at several pre-arranged points where two (or more) bus routes intersect. Columbia Transit also offers a variety of FASTPass fare cards and electronic transfers.


  • Adult Fare $1.50
  • Seniors, Disabled, Medicare recipients, medicaid recipients, income eligible and ages 5-17 are $.75
  • ParaTransit Fare $2.00
  • Children under age 5 are free

FASTPass electronic fare cards

  • 30-day unlimited (full-fare/half-fare) $55.00/$25.00
  • 25-ride pass (full-fare/half-fare) $30.00/$15.00
  • Student Semester Pass(with valid student ID)$100


Columbia Transit operates a diverse fleet of 41 transit buses, eleven para-transit vans and several support vehicles. Most buses are 35- and 40-foot New Flyer low-floor buses. In addition, the system also uses several 40-foot Gillig Corporation Phantom buses, 30-foot ElDorado National buses, and two Gilling 40-foot Euro-style buses. Most of the fleet is planned to be replaced by 2015, pending budgetary approval.[3] The city may purchase hybrid and/or methane-powered buses in the future.

The City Council decided (in a unanimous vote on November 16, 2009) to approve a measure for transit advertising. The decision came after a five-year debate on the issue, with the threat of budget decreases pushing through the measure. The city received two bids after requesting them in August of that year, with the larger potential-income proposal coming from Midwest-based Transit Advertising (a firm specializing in transit advertisements). The company's bid guaranteed an income of at least $204,000 per year of which Columbia Transit would keep 60%, or $122,400 (whichever was greater). Advertisements vary from small banners inside buses to full bus wrap ads.[4] All fixed-route buses are equipped with bike racks which can carry two standard bicycles. Use of the bike racks is provided at no additional charge.


In recent years, the Columbia Transit system has undergone several changes to service and infrastructure. During this time, ridership levels for the fixed-route system have grown from around 400,000 passengers in 2003 to over 2 million riders per year. In 2004 City Council approved motions for the renovation and expansion of Wabash Station in downtown Columbia; federal funding was approved for construction. In June 2004, many changes were made to the primary routes in an effort to reduce headway times (which had continued to grow because of traffic congestion). Changes were made to the 4-Red, 3-Green and 2-Blue routes; the 5-Yellow route was reduced (due to poor ridership) from a peak-service commuter route along Forum Boulevard to a one-morning/one-afternoon weekday run, with a transfer to the 1-Orange.[5] While no trolley buses were purchased, due to strong popular support the 6-Brown Downtown Orbiter was introduced along with the 7-Purple Theater Special, a route running from Forum 8 Goodrich Theater to Hollywood Stadium 14 Theater with a transfer to the 6-Brown at University Hospital, roughly halfway between the two theaters.[6] In June, 2006, the FASTPass electronic fare card program was introduced along with electronic transfer slips.[7] Other changes during that month had the 6-Brown's extended at-peak service removed Thursday evenings, and the 7-Purple was rerouted to the Wabash Station to encourage ridership. In August of that year, the 8-Gold route was introduced to the university sysytem.[8] The 8-Gold service area includes Campus View, the Reserve and several other student-housing complexes. At the time the route was partially funded by the owners of those complexes, although the university later contributed operating funds. This route has since grown into three different routes (now routes 207 and 208W/E), and are key components of the niversity's shuttle system.

In June 2007, a $2.3 million renovation and expansion of the Wabash bus station on North Tenth Street began after nearly a decade of planning.[9] The building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979, so construction had to retain the building's historic quality. The project included exterior renovation of the original structure, remodeling of the interior and passenger lobby, construction of an administrative wing and a large canopy-covered bus port extending into the rear lot. As part of the "percent for art" program, one percent of the total construction cost was dedicated to artwork primarily by local artists.[10] Two Boone County artists, painter David Spear and sculptor Don Asbee, created large oil paintings of the former and current station for the lobby and a metal train sculpture underneath the bus port. The project was completed by summer 2008.

Between major projects and modifications, several amenities have been upgraded throughout the system. Bus shelters and benches have been added, and the fleet has periodically been updated. In November 2007, LED electronic destination signs were installed to replace the scroll-style signs prone to ripping during operation. In fall 2010, advertisements made their way aboard city buses. There are additional projects awaiting funding for infrastructure improvement and larger projects well into the planning stage. Many planned improvements and developments are aimed to expand service area and operation times and improving local transportation coordination, as well as adding new infrastructure and facilities. In August 2010 the fixed-route system was reconfigured, taking existing routes and rerouting them to extend the service area. Saturday routes (previously different from weekday routes) were aligned with weekday routes. The 105 Yellow route was restored to commuter-route status as the 105 Purple route; a transfer between 105 and 101 was added, and the 101 Orange Route South was rescheduled to travel against the congestion which had previously caused delays.


External links

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